You might say that Stockman Bank, where Andy Gott works as vice president and manager of the downtown branch, is growing its business the old-fashioned way.

As Gott explains, Stockman boosts its bottom line through organic growth, the amount of new business that comes in the door, not through mergers and acquisitions.

Gott says the Montana-based banking company is doing well despite trying times for some of its customers.

Last year Montana farmers and ranchers weathered big drops in prices for wheat and cattle. Stockman Bank is the state’s largest agriculture lender.

Because Stockman Bank is a privately held company, there isn’t the constant pressure to please shareholders every quarter, Gott said. “The upside is that the owners have a vested interest in our success.”

Whenever a particular economic sector faces a downturn, “We are able to operate on a longer-term philosophy,” Gott said. “We try to do things up front that make sense even in a downturn.”

Nevertheless, the markets in which Stockman Bank operates are doing well, he said.

Gott’s family tree includes a number of bankers. He became interested in banking while still in high school. 

"One of my grandfathers owned a bank, so that provided part of the inspiration," he said. "Banking is an amazing business that is vital to the ongoing success of our community. I have worked hard from the beginning to learn from those around me and always to do my best."

Gott got a chance to see the world during college. He has studied several languages: French, Spanish, Chinese and Croation. In fact, he lived in Croatia for about a year during his college years.

"It was a wonderful experience, one of the best years. But it was also one of the hardest because of a lot of different things," Gott said.

"Croatia is a lot like Italy, and it also reminded me a lot of Montana," he said.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your job? Bringing 100 percent focus and lots of energy to every interaction, both with our customers and members of our team. There is no room for mediocrity. We hold ourselves to a very high standard because our customers and employees deserve the best.

What’s the best business advice you have received? Business is all about relationships. Building good relationships takes energy and time.

Who gave you that advice? I think I heard that first from my dad, and then from many other influential leaders.

Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community: Create even more opportunities for people to prosper and thrive in Billings. A lot of talented people leave our community to pursue careers and business opportunities in other cities, yet I frequently hear from friends and contacts around the country that they would love to be able to move back here. Having lived in a number of other places, I agree that this is an incredible place to live, work, and raise a family.

Which living person do you most admire? My mom and dad. They have shown me what it looks like to work as a team, to succeed on many levels, and to care for those around them.

Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job? Impact at a personal level is a critical metric. This is in terms of both quantity of people impacted and the quality of that impact.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Earning my pilot’s license was especially near and dear to my heart because I have loved aviation for as long as I can remember.

I’m happiest when... I’m flying an airplane, skiing with my family, or messing around with a guitar or piano.